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Welcome Aboard Mass Hysteria Transit
And Thank You For Leaving Your WMDs at Home
© 2013 James LaFond
Of the dozen or so law enforcement posters, stickers and statute plaques now plastered on MTA buses in the Baltimore area, this is my favorite. If I had not been under the Orwellian eye of the onboard camera system I would have pealed it off and slapped it on my machete fencing helmet. The entire decal is in the shape of a comic book speech bubble about the size of a volley ball.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, [in black]
SAY SOMETHING TM [in red]
REPORT UNATTENDED BAGS AND UNUSUAL BEHAVIOR [in black]
TO POLICE OR TRANSIT PERSONNEL [in black]
1-800-492-TIPS [in red]
SECURE TRANSIT.ORG [underlined]
UNITED WE STAND [in italic, imbedded in underline shading]
PURCHASED BY* FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.
The many examples of these print programing attempts in public spaces—along with the recently instituted messages in movie theaters to look to your left and right for suspicious persons—would seem overbearing, and perhaps frightening, if I noticed a single other person ever reading them. As it is the homeless people are rooting through their bags, the drug addicts are arranging drops with their drug dealers via Federal Flip Phones, and everyone else is glued to their flat crystal balls.
Actually the only thing troubling about these announcements is the easily generalized warning to report ‘unusual behavior’. There should be reminders to report packages left behind—that was long overdue ten years ago. It just makes me feel uncomfortable as I am usually the only white person, and the only one reading a book. If anyone is going to look unusual on this bus it will be me.
Note the trademark notice after the initial slogan. That means someone is making a profit off of that rarified saying. I doubt if all the books I ever write will pull in that much dough.
-James, 7/30/13
*How about 'with'?
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